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AFC “deeply concerned” about welfare of sugar workers

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The Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition government is calling for the hundreds of workers who will be affected from the restructuring of the sugar estates to be given leased lands, access to small concession loans and access to markets for agro-processing along with severance packages.

These are similar recommendations which were made by opposition parliamentarians during their budget speeches when they asked the government “where is the plan” for the sugar workers who have already begun receiving their letters of termination.

The AFC, in a statement Thursday, said it is deeply concerned about the welfare of the sugar workers.

“The AFC looks forward to an amicable resolution to this issue, but insists that as the Yuletide season is upon us, workers must not be adversely affected and the offer of severance must be thoroughly detailed and presented to the workers now,” the party stated.

AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman and AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan. (AFC photo)

The AFC said it recognises that the State Paper on the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) which was laid in the National Assembly in May outlines certain actions which are necessary and unavoidable if the sugar industry is to be regularized and become sustainable.

“The Party is cognizant that GuySuCo has been engaging with the workers and their unions for some time now regarding actions which are necessary and calls on GuySuCo to intensify this initiative to ensure that all workers are adequately briefed, counseled and are presented with all the necessary information regarding the future status of GuySuCo and the sugar sector,” the AFC stated.

The Party expressed that the Party recognizes that the future of GuySuCo is of paramount importance and the government must continue to pursue those options for the sugar industry which is “not a burden on the national treasury”.

Thousands of sugar workers are left contemplating their next move for the new year after they have received letters from the management of the Rose Hall informing them that they are no longer needed. Reports also indicate that a number of workers from the Enmore Estate have also received similar letters.

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